The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for all societies around the world. Non-Pharmaceutical interventions have been implemented by national governments with the purpose of preventing overwhelming the health systems by limiting infection incidence levels. Nevertheless, these measures have affected the livelihood and wellbeing of millions of people around the globe, putting the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic under the spotlight.
Cambodia has shown great success in isolating COVID-19 cases and even reducing the incidence level to zero for several months in a row. Nevertheless, the strategy in place has drastically affected many industries that were key sources of employment for Cambodians.
The tourism industry was severely impacted and reduced to a minimum, depending exclusively on internal travel. The garment and construction sectors, which are also large employers, reduced their activities as a response to decreased global demand. In 2020, the economy was estimated to have contracted by 3.1 per cent, following an average growth of 7.0 per cent per annum from 2010-2019. The impacts on employment, and household wage and non-wage incomes were significantly larger than what the macro-economic trends would suggest. The education system has been heavily affected, especially impacting the youngest learners, as universities, schools and pre-schools faced closure for a considerable part of 2020 which extended to 2021.
This study aims to provide evidence on the short-, mid-, and long-term secondary impacts of COVID-19 on society, livelihoods, economic activity, food security, access to essential services and well-being, in addition to exploring household vulnerabilities. This report corresponds to the first phase of the study, which looks at early and medium-term impacts from August 2020 until March 2021.